Brockton, MA - The Worcester Bravehearts Pen Pal Club made a return for the 2022 season, as the team expanded the program to multiple different organizations who exchanged monthly letters with Bravehearts players. Easterseals Massachusetts was a first-time participant, connecting clients at Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children in Canton with 11 Bravehearts players and coaches.
"It has been a pleasure working with another Worcester community partner to bring some fun to the Easterseals Massachusetts clients at Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital,” said Paul Medeiros, President and CEO of Easterseals. “The Pen Pal Program has allowed them to get to know the players, and the field trip to the game to meet their player pen pals is a much-needed treat after the past two years of COVID-19 restrictions.”
The pen pals from Easterseals got to meet their Bravehearts friends on August 3rd before a game at Campanelli Stadium against the Brockton Rox. The pen pals were treated to dinner as they met for the first time in-person to further discuss what they had written to each other over the previous three months.
"Writing with the Pen Pal Club was a surreal experience, and I had never done something like that before but it felt really good to make someone’s day,” said Bravehearts Catcher and Adam Keenan Award Winner Andrew Chronister. “When I met my pen pal she had the biggest smile on her face. I made an impact on her happiness. It’s a feeling you will never forget.”
For the second consecutive year, Bravehearts players also wrote to individuals served by Open Sky Community Services in Worcester. Kelley Gamble, Vice President of Community Engagement at Open Sky, spoke to the team upon their arrival in Worcester on May 25 about the value of connecting with individuals to help them see beyond their perceived limitations. Fourteen Bravehearts wrote letters to Open Sky clients about their hobbies, families, and role models before having dinner together on August 6 before the final Bravehearts home game at Fitton Field.
During the event on August 6, an Open Sky participant named Lori had the opportunity to throw the first pitch at the game. She worked with her physical therapist leading up to the game and surprised the crowd when she stood up from her wheelchair to fire a strike.
“It has been exciting to offer the Pen Pal Club opportunity to individuals we serve for the past two years,” said Open Sky’s Director of Community Membership, Michelle Benjamin. “Open Sky's mission is ‘Blending best practices with the power of community,’ and we are thrilled to have the Worcester Bravehearts as a Community Partner!”
The Pen Pal Club started in 2015 when the Bravehearts paired up middle school students with senior citizens who spent the winter and spring months writing letters to each other before meeting for lunch in June near the end of the school year.
The Pen Pal Club is sponsored by Cornerstone Bank, a community bank headquartered in Southbridge that is committed to supporting causes that improve the quality of life for the residents of Central Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut.